Emotions are engagements with a continuously changing world of social relationships. In the present article, we propose that emotions are therefore best conceived as ongoing, dynamic, and interactive processes that are socially constructed. We review evidence for three social contexts of emotion construction that are embedded in each other: The unfolding of emotion within interactions, the mutual constitution of emotion and relationships, and the shaping of emotion at the level of the larger cultural context. Finally, we point to interdependencies amongst (...) these contexts of construction and discuss future directions of a constructionist perspective. (shrink)
Emotions are complex processes that are constrained by biology, but not fully explained without taking into account the social context in which they develop. Mapping these contexts, and understanding how and under which conditions they shape emotions, is an essential task for the science of emotions; a task that—at least in psychology—has been neglected. The three commentaries each offer some interesting reflections on exactly this task.
Emotion suppression has been found to have negative psychological and social consequences in Western cultural contexts. Yet, in some other cultural contexts, emotion suppression is less likely to have negative consequences; relatedly, emotion suppression is also more common in those East-Asian cultural contexts. In a dyadic conflict study, we aim to conceptually replicate cultural differences found in previous research with respect to the prevalence and consequences of emotion suppression,and extend previous research by testing whether cultural differences are larger for some (...) than for other types of negative emotions. We postulate that cultural differences in suppression are less pronounced for socially engaging emotions than socially disengaging emotions, because the former foster the relationship, whereas the latter emphasize individual goals. Belgian and Japanese couples engaged in a 10-min conflict interaction followed by video-mediated recall, during which participants rated their emotions and emotion suppression every 30 s. As predicted, Japanese participants reported more suppression than their Belgian counterparts, but the cultural difference was more pronounced when participants experienced more socially disengaging emotions than when they experienced more socially engaging emotions. These results suggest that the type of emotion should be considered when describing cultural differences in emotion suppression. Finally, and consistent with previous research, emotion suppression was negatively associated with interaction outcomes in Belgian couples, but not in Japanese couples. (shrink)
ABSTRACTIt has been widely believed that individuals transform high-intensity shame into anger because shame is unbearably painful. This phenomenon was first coined “humiliated fury,” and it has since received empirical support. The current research tests the novel hypothesis that shame-related anger is not universal, yet hinges on the cultural meanings of anger and shame. Two studies compared the occurrence of shame-related anger in North American cultural contexts to its occurrence in Japanese contexts. In a daily-diary study, participants rated anger and (...) shame feelings during shame situations that occurred over one week. In a vignette study, participants rated anger and shame in response to standardised shame vignettes that were generated in previous research by either U.S. or Japanese respondents. Across the two studies, and in line with previous research on humiliated fury, shame predicted anger for U.S. parti... (shrink)
We propose a sociodynamic model of emotions, in which emotions are seen as dynamic systems that emerge from the interactions and relationships in which they take place. Our model does not deny that emotions are biologically constrained, yet it takes seriously that emotions are situated in specific contexts. We conceive emotions as largely functional to the sociocultural environment in which they occur; this is so because sociocultural environments foster the emergence of emotions that positively contribute to social cohesion. The role (...) of the social context includes actual, online shaping—affordances, constraints, and reward structures—and thus goes beyond merely providing the content of cognitive representations. (shrink)
Boiger and Mesquita (2012) present a social constructionist perspective on emotion that argues for its multilevel contextualization through social interactions, relationships, and culture. The present comments offer a response to the authors’ call for input from other disciplines. We provide a sociological perspective on emotion construction at each of the contextual levels discussed by Boiger and Mesquita, and discuss a model that can address interdependencies between these levels. Our remarks are intended to identify additional literature that can be (...) brought to bear on multilevel emotion construction and to put forward some ideas for future research on the subject. (shrink)
Emotion events are undoubtedly socially constructed and emerge in interactions that take place in relationships; they are dynamic and situated in social-cultural contexts as Boiger and Mesquita (2012) argue. However, such constructions evolve within important limiting conditions set to human functioning. Our understanding of how emotional events are constructed can only be complete by assigning a central role to body, brain, and the social-physical conditions in the construction process, since these are critical constraints to human functioning.
Bart Pattyn: Needless to say, we are more than pleased with the willingness of Michael Walzer to be here in Leuven. After the stimulating lecture yesterday we now have the opportunity to pose some questions to Michael Walzer in the same room where we talked with his friend, Harry Frankfurt, as well as with Bernard Williams. I have asked Professor Selling to moderate this discussion which I am sure he will do with a firm hand.Joseph Selling: We have (...) two papers which Prof. Walzer, and many of you, have read in advance. Perhaps we can take the questions from the authors of those papers and then take other questions. (shrink)
Recent years have seen growing evidence of a fruitful engagement between phenomenology and cognitive science. This paper confronts an in-principle problem that stands in the way of this intellectual coalition, namely the fact that a tension exists between the transcendentalism that characterizes phenomenology and the naturalism that accompanies cognitive science. After articulating the general shape of this tension, I respond as follows. First, I argue that, if we view things through a kind of neo-McDowellian lens, we can open up a (...) conceptual space in which phenomenology and cognitive science may exert productive constraints on each other. Second, I describe some examples of phenomenological cognitive science that illustrate such constraints in action. Third, I use the mutually constraining relationship at work here as the platform from which to bring to light a domesticated version of the transcendental and a minimal form of naturalism that are compatible with each other. (shrink)
In various areas of Anglo-American law, legal liability turns on causation. In torts and contracts, we are each liable only for those harms we have caused by the actions that breach our legal duties. Such doctrines explicitly make causation an element of liability. In criminal law, sometimes the causal element for liability is equally explicit, as when a statute makes punishable any act that has “ caused … abuse to the child….” More often, the causal element in criminal liability is (...) more implicit, as when criminal statutes prohibit killings, maimings, rapings, burnings, etc. Such causally complex action verbs are correctly applied only to defendants who have caused death, caused disfigurement, caused penetration, caused fire damage, etc. (shrink)
Freud justified his extensive theorizing about dreams by the observation that they were “the royal road” to something much more general: namely, our unconscious mental life. The current preoccupation with the theory of excuse in criminal law scholarship can be given a similar justification, for the excuses are the royal road to theories of responsibility generally. The thought is that if we understand why we excuse in certain situations but not others, we will have also gained a much more general (...) insight into the nature of responsibility itself. Nowhere has this thought been more evident than in the century-old focus of criminal law theoreticians on the excuse of insanity, a focus that could not be justified by the importance of the excuse itself. In this paper I wish to isolate two theories of excuse, each of which instantiates its own distinctive theory of responsibility. One is what I shall call the choice theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because at the moment of such action's performance, one did not have sufficient capacity or opportunity to make the choice to do otherwise. Such a choice theory of excuse instantiates a more general theory of responsibility, according to which we are responsible for wrongs we freely choose to do, and not responsible for wrongs we lacked the freedom to avoid doing. The second I shall call the character theory of excuse, according to which one is excused for the doing of a wrongful action because and only because such action is not determined by those enduring attributes of ourselves we call our characters. (shrink)
The idea that immoral behaviour can sometimes be admirable, and that moral behaviour can sometimes be less than admirable, has led several of its supporters to infer that moral considerations are not always overriding, contrary to what has been traditionally maintained. In this paper I shall challenge this inference. My purpose in doing so is to expose and acknowledge something that has been inadequately appreciated, namely, the moral aspect of nonmoral goods and evils. I hope thereby to show that, even (...) if immorality can be admirable, this poses no threat to morality. (shrink)
This paper deals with Ludwik Fleck’s theory of thought styles and Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge. Though both concepts have been very influential for science studies in general, and both have been subject to numerous interpretations, their accounts have, somewhat surprisingly, hardly been comparatively analyzed. Both Fleck and Polanyi relied on the physiology and psychology of the senses in order to show that scientific knowledge follows less the path of logical principles than the path of accepting or rejecting (...) specific conventions, where these may be psychologically or sociologically grounded. It is my aim to show that similarities and differences between Fleck and Polanyi are to be seen in the specific historical and political context in which they worked. Both authors, I shall argue, emphasized the relevance of perception in close connection to their respective understanding of science, freedom, and democracy. (shrink)
In the Trolley Case, as devised by Philippa Foot and modified by Judith Jarvis Thomson, a runaway trolley is headed down a main track and will hit and kill five unless you divert it onto a side track, where it will hit and kill one.
In early 1864, disappointed by the response to his previous work, the young Manchester academic W. Stanley Jevons announced that he was undertaking a study of the so-called coal question: ‘A good publication on the subject would draw a good deal of attention … it is necessary for the present at any rate to write on popular subjects’. When Jevons's The Coal Question was published in April 1865, however, it received comparatively little attention and sales were slow. Jevons and his (...) publisher, Alexander Macmillan, then began sending complimentary copies to luminaries such as Sir John Herschel and Alfred Tennyson. In February 1866 the marketing campaign produced its first substantial return. Macmillan had sent CQ to William Gladstone who responded with letters to both Macmillan and Jevons, noting that the book had strengthened his ‘conviction’ on the necessity for reducing the National Debt. In April, John Stuart Mill praised CQ in the House of Commons, calling for action on the Debt and, three weeks later, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gladstone introduced the budget using half his speech to examine the Debt situation and referring to CQ in support for a proposed measure of Debt reduction. With the extensive publicity given to CQ following Mill's speech and the budget, Jevons had achieved his objective in writing the text which went into a second edition in 1866. On the face of it, CQ 's success was due to its effect of introducing a change in budget policy and this is the impression given by some accounts of the episode. (shrink)
This article challenges conventional readings of Michel Foucault by examining his fascination with neoliberalism in the late 1970s. Foucault did not critique neoliberalism during this period; rather, he strategically endorsed it. The necessary cause for this approval lies in the broader rehabilitation of economic liberalism in France during the 1970s. The sufficient cause lies in Foucault's own intellectual development: drawing on his long-standing critique of the state as a model for conceptualizing power, Foucault concluded, during the 1970s, that economic liberalism, (...) rather than “discipline,” was modernity's paradigmatic power form. Moreover, this article seeks to clarify the relationship between Foucault's philosophical antihumanism and his assessment of liberalism. Rather than arguing that Foucault's antihumanism precluded a positive appraisal of liberalism, or that the apparent reorientation of his politics in a more liberal direction in the late 1970s entailed a partial retreat from antihumanism, this article contends that Foucault's brief, strategic, and contingent endorsement of liberalism was possible precisely because he saw no incompatibility between antihumanism and liberalism—but only liberalism of the economic variety. Economic liberalism alone, and not its political iteration, was compatible with the philosophical antihumanism that is the hallmark of Foucault's thought. (shrink)
In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially ...
Michael Walzer is currently at the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, New Jersey. Professor Walzer has written Just and Unjust Wars; The Revolution of the Saints and has edited Toward A Global Civil Society. In this interview, he discusses some of the current concerns about education, political theory and the current state of the art of toleration, and acceptance and accommodation of different racial, ethnic, social and minority groups. He has published extensively and his (...) work has been translated in several other languages. In this interview, he responds to questions about his work, his writings and his current concerns. (shrink)
This article explores the relationships between legal proof and fundamental epistemic concepts such as knowledge and justification. A survey of the legal literature reveals a confusing array of seemingly inconsistent proposals and presuppositions regarding these relationships. This article makes two contributions. First, it reconciles a number of apparent inconsistencies and tensions in accounts of the epistemology of legal proof. Second, it argues that there is a deeper connection between knowledge and legal proof than is typically argued for or presupposed in (...) the legal literature. This connection is illustrated through a discussion of the Gettier problem in epistemology. It is argued that the gap or disconnect between truth and justification that undermines knowledge in Gettier cases also potentially undermines the success of legal verdicts. (shrink)
The arguments for redistribution of wealth, and for prohibiting certain transactions such as price-gouging, both are based in mistaken conceptions of exchange. This paper proposes a neologism, “euvoluntary” exchange, meaning both that the exchange is truly voluntary and that it benefits both parties to the transaction. The argument has two parts: First, all euvoluntary exchanges should be permitted, and there is no justification for redistribution of wealth if disparities result only from euvoluntary exchanges. Second, even exchanges that are not euvoluntary (...) should generally be permitted, because access to market exchange may be the only means by which people in desperate circumstances can improve their position. (shrink)
Michael Tooley presents a major new philosophical theory of the nature of time, offering a powerful alternative to the traditional "tensed" and recent "tenseless" accounts of time. He argues for a dynamic conception of the universe, in which past, present, and future are not merely subjective features of experience. He claims that the past and the present are real, while the future is not. Tooley's approach accounts for time in terms of causation. He therefore claims that the key to (...) understanding the dynamic nature of the universe is to understand the nature of causation. Time, Tense, and Causation is a landmark treatment of one of the oldest and most perplexing intellectual problems, and will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in the character of time. (shrink)
Consequentialists are sometimes accused of being unable to accommodate all the ways in which an agent should care about her own integrity. Here it is helpful to follow Stephen Darwall in distinguishing two approaches to moral theory. First, we might begin with the value of states of affairs and then work our way ‘inward’ to our integrity, explaining the value of the latter in terms of their contribution to the value of the former. This is the ‘outside-in’ approach, and Darwall (...) argues that it is well-suited to defending consequentialism. Alternatively, we might begin with the perspective of a virtuous agent's concern for her integrity, and then work our way ‘outward’, building a conception of the value of states of affairs from this perspective. On this ‘inside-out’ account there is a kind of agent-centred concern each agent should have for her own integrity simply because it is her own. The inside-out approach therefore suggests a possible rationale for a non-consequentialist moral theory, in so far as such a fundamental egocentric concern for one's own integrity seems alien to consequentialism's commitment to the agent-neutrality of value. If this is correct then the consequentialist should explain why we should prefer the outside-in approach to its rival. I argue that the consequentialist can meet this challenge. (shrink)
Consider the following situation. It is the first day of school, and the new third-grade students file into the classroom to be shown to their seats for the coming year. As they enter, the third-grade teacher notices one small boy who is particularly unkempt. He looks to be in desperate need of bathing, and his clothes are dirty, torn and tight-fitting. During recess, the teacher pulls aside the boy's previous teacher and asks about his wretched condition. The other teacher informs (...) her that he always looks that way, even though the boy's family is quite wealthy. The reason he appears as he does, she continues, is that the family observes an odd practice according to which the children do not receive many important things – food, clothing, bathing, even shelter – unless they specifically request them. Since the boy, like many third-graders, has little interest in bathing and clean clothes, he just never asks for them. (shrink)
Approaches to explanation -- Causal and explanatory relevance -- The kairetic account of /D making -- The kairetic account of explanation -- Extending the kairetic account -- Event explanation and causal claims -- Regularity explanation -- Abstraction in regularity explanation -- Approaches to probabilistic explanation -- Kairetic explanation of frequencies -- Kairetic explanation of single outcomes -- Looking outward -- Looking inward.
We are material beings in a material world, but we are also beings who have experiences and feelings. How can these subjective states be just a matter of matter? To defend materialism, philosophical materialists have formulated what is sometimes called "the phenomenal-concept strategy," which holds that we possess a range of special concepts for classifying the subjective aspects of our experiences. In Consciousness Revisited, the philosopher Michael Tye, until now a proponent of the the phenomenal-concept strategy, argues that the (...) strategy is mistaken. A rejection of phenomenal concepts leaves the materialist with the task of finding some other strategy for defending materialism. Tye points to four major puzzles of consciousness that arise: How is it possible for Mary, in the famous thought experiment, to make a discovery when she leaves her black-and-white room? In what does the explanatory gap consist and how can it be bridged? How can the hard problem of consciousness be solved? How are zombies possible? Tye presents solutions to these puzzles -- solutions that relieve the pressure on the materialist created by the failure of the phenomenal-concept strategy. In doing so, he discusses and makes new proposals on a wide range of issues, including the nature of perceptual content, the conditions necessary for consciousness of a given object, the proper understanding of change blindness, the nature of phenomenal character and our awareness of it, whether we have privileged access to our own experiences, and, if we do, in what such access consists. (shrink)
In this collection of essays one of the preeminent philosophers of science writing offers a reinterpretation of the enduring significance of logical positivism, the revolutionary philosophical movement centered around the Vienna Circle in the 1920s and 30s. Michael Friedman argues that the logical positivists were radicals not by presenting a new version of empiricism but rather by offering a new conception of a priori knowledge and its role in empirical knowledge. This collection will be mandatory reading for any philosopher (...) or historian of science interested in the history of logical positivism in particular or the evolution of modern philosophy in general. (shrink)
Part I: The representation of life -- Can life be given a real definition? -- The representation of the living individual -- The representation of the life-form itself -- Part II: Naive action theory -- Types of practical explanation -- Naive explanation of action -- Action and time -- Part III: Practical generality -- Two tendencies in practical philosophy -- Practices and dispositions as sources of the goodness of individual actions -- Practice and disposition as sources of individual action.
A liberal society seeks not to impose a single way of life, but to leave its citizens as free as possible to choose their own values and ends. It therefore must govern by principles of justice that do not presuppose any particular vision of the good life. But can any such principles be found? And if not, what are the consequences for justice as a moral and political ideal? These are the questions Michael Sandel takes up in this penetrating (...) critique of contemporary liberalism. Sandel locates modern liberalism in the tradition of Kant, and focuses on its most influential recent expression in the work of John Rawls. In the most important challenge yet to Rawls' theory of justice, Sandel traces the limits of liberalism to the conception of the person that underlies it, and argues for a deeper understanding of community than liberalism allows. (shrink)
What is truth? Michael Lynch defends a bold new answer to this question. Traditional theories of truth hold that truth has only a single uniform nature. All truths are true in the same way. More recent deflationary theories claim that truth has no nature at all; the concept of truth is of no real philosophical importance. In this concise and clearly written book, Lynch argues that we should reject both these extremes and hold that truth is a functional property. (...) To understand truth we must understand what it does, its function in our cognitive economy. Once we understand that, we'll see that this function can be performed in more than one way. And that in turn opens the door to an appealing pluralism: beliefs about the concrete physical world needn't be true in the same way as our thoughts about matters -- like morality -- where the human stain is deepest. (shrink)